Buying and/or selling a condo is different from a single-family home transaction. The major differences lie in the fact that condos are part of a shared piece of property. Also, condo communities and HOAs come with some restrictions that must be taken into account. So whether you’re buying or selling for living or investment purposes, there are a few things you must know. Check out these tips for buying and selling condos in Los Angeles.
Buying Condos in Los Angeles
The chief considerations for buying (as well as for selling) condos in Los Angeles include:
PERSONALITY OF THE ASSOCIATION
Will the rules, restrictions, and benefits of the condo association suit you or your tenants? Do your due diligence and find out how the community is managed before jumping into a purchase.
Most people buy a condo for the benefits condo living provides, such as exterior and lawn maintenance and hosting of social events. But if the association’s budget is weak, you may not realize those benefits to the fullest even though you still have to pay dues. So be sure to ask for a copy of the association’s budget.
Buying condos in Los Angeles depends, of course, on buyers getting financing, but that may be difficult if the building has high delinquency rates. In fact, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA (which buy or insure a large percentage of mortgages) will not approve mortgages for condos with delinquency rates higher than 15%.
Another monetary consideration when buying condos in Los Angeles is the condo association’s cash reserves. If the building has some age on it and the cash reserves are low, you may be hit with a special assessment at some point.
Another thing you need to consider is whether the building is sufficiently insured or insured at all, that is, the community’s insurance coverage. In our current cost-cutting climate, many associations have reduced or even dropped insurance coverage. You should ask for and examine a copy of the building’s master insurance policy because insufficient coverage could adversely impact your ability to get financing.
Selling Condos in Los Angeles
Selling condos in Los Angeles also involves some special considerations, such as:
SELLING AT THE RIGHT TIME
Although condos typically sell faster than single-family homes, timing still matters. Historically, the best time to sell a single-family home is spring or early summer, and the worst is winter. But that doesn’t necessarily hold for condos, depending on location and local attractions. (Consult your local agent at 562-881-9811 to determine the best time for selling condos in Los Angeles.)
PRICING TO SELL
As with any kind of real estate, selling condos also involves pricing to sell, which means pricing neither too high nor too low. But first you have to figure out what a condo is actually worth, that is, its fair market value. It’s hard for most sellers to calculate this on their own because with condos subtle differences can add up to significant price differences. Your best tools here are a comparative market analysis and your agent.
Because condos in the same building aren’t typically as individually distinctive as single-family homes, usually being constructed on the same or a similar pattern, staging becomes even more important to make a particular condo stand out from the competition. Condos are smaller, so one of the chief staging goals will be to make the condo appear roomy and spacious. A professional staging service is probably your best bet here.
In addition, selling condos in Los Angeles means deploying effective marketing strategies. This means, above all, emphasizing unique selling points and playing up the most attractive features. It is generally recommended that you emphasize the lifestyle ease and benefits that purchasing the condo will afford. For that’s what most condo buyers are primarily interested in. A marketing-savvy agent can be a huge asset at listing time.
As you can see, then, buying and selling condos in Los Angeles differs primarily, not in the fundamentals, but in the points of emphasis. And only an agent experienced in buying and selling condos truly knows how to emphasize what is important.